The music notes for Little Donkey sit in the keyboard of Tom Pidcock’s living room. They belong to his piano-teaching girlfriend, not the Ineos Grenadier bike racer himself, though he’s the kind of renaissance man who could become a virtuoso pretty quickly if he set his mind to it. He seems to excel at everything he does.
We are visiting Pidcock at home among the snow poles in the mountains of Andorra as he answers readers' eclectic questions (Sample: "Can you ride a unicycle?") with us for our Interview issue and shoots his squad's 2022 kit.
His well-deserved winter break has flown by. A knee operation had Pidcock climbing the walls, raring to get going again during off-season. He is not the kind of person who is able to sit still for long. As soon as he was recovered, he squeezed in a few runs alongside the bike rides: as Strava has already seen, the 22-year-old is rapid with trainers on.
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'Tis an off-season to be jolly for Pidcock. He’s packed in cyclo-cross success, mountain biking World Cup and Olympic gold as well as Brabantse Pijl victory in his debut WorldTour year – and a very near miss at Amstel Gold Race. As his Rouleur cover rather suggests, he really is like a kid stood in front of an arcade robotic claw with the ability to grab cycle sport's races at will.
The Yorkshireman is a superstar in the making, but reassuringly normal. Success has not gone to his head: the thing that stands out most in his apartment is an oversize decorative Lego head rather than any trophies. No airs or graces, no entourage, no worries. He's been brought up well, clearly: he apologises profusely to the Ineos Grenadiers content officer for forgetting her jumper that he borrowed weeks before.
Out on the photo shoot, whether close to the bumper of the hire car downhill or hitting high scores in the arcade, he was fearless and having fun too.
Few bike riders get a Rouleur cover during their careers; Tom Pidcock has already done it twice (his first one was memorable too). There will no doubt be a few more over the next 15 years.